Dutton-Goldfield Fox Den Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, California
Pretty notes of violet and bay leaf add layers of complexity. The energetic mouth leads with red raspberry, strawberry, and pomegranate, framed by dark cherry accents. The wine finishes long and fresh, with a touch of toasted caramel at the end.
A creamy rabbit pâté would make an excellent foil to the perky red fruit, as would pepper-crusted pork tenderloin or grilled arctic char.
Our harvest at Fox Den was down by half in 2015 due to the wet weather during pollination, giving us a tiny and extra concentrated crop. That concentration is immediately evident when you put your nose in the glass: the rich, sweet cherry nose of our 2015 Fox Den Pinot draws you in its aromatherapy embrace, making you anxious to dive into the glass.
At Dutton-Goldfield, our pinot is hand sorted and destemmed into small open top fermenters and the must is then cold-soaked for 5 days to gently extract color, spice and fruit characters, while mitigating harsher tannins. The three blocks at Fox Den were fermented and barreled separately to optimize what we most love about each, then blended to our tastes in March of 2016. The core of the 2015 is the plush, more strawberry 777, then half as much of the blackberry, focused 667 clone. One of the pleasures of the spring blending is getting to hone barrel choices. Fox Den is all about the floral notes of Remond Trancais, but Taransaud holds down the bass tones, and Rousseau adds structure. The wine was bottled in February 2017 after 16 months in oak.
Alcohol: 13.8% Ta: 6.8 g/L pH: 3.44 Barrel Aging: Aged 16 months in French oak (55% new barrels)
Fox Den Vineyard is perched on top of Stoetz Ridge, at the western border of Green Valley and just above the town of Occidental. The Goldridge sandy loam soil here is extremely sandy since this ridge is old pushed-up sea bottom, which makes for low vigor vines, slow ripening, and beautifully floral and fruit driven wine. Here on the hill, it’s frequently a touch warmer than the bottom of the valley, but it’s still always among the last harvested and highest in natural acidity of our pinots. Dan and Steve planted the spot together in 2002, and Dan has been crafting the wine since 2004. The eight acres is split into three clones: 667 for vivid fruit, 777 for chewy tannins and 115 for brightness and floral aromatics. For the vineyard designated wine, the exact blend between them will vary each year, but the result is always a wine with sweet, lush cherry/strawberry fruit and great natural acidity. This beautiful site is the home of Ed and Sue Smith, old friends who now lovingly oversee their 8 acres of beautifully farmed fruit.